New albums have always been a pleasure, that mix of anticipation and the thrill of opening the cover and placing CD/Vinyl onto play for the first time; this pleasure was double my usual, a beautiful designed sleeve with the cherished CD and a booklet just raised the pulse for the music of The Jar Family. Having heard the Jar Family live at festivals and gigs I did wonder if their energy and the way they swap and change who takes the lead would work contained in the static medium of recorded music. By the end of the first track Footsteps had faded away their was no need to worry they sound live and it was if the six band members were in the room with you.
The third track in was a surprise with I Have To Go, no don’t go stay around I want more of your glorious roots folk music energy flowing out of my speakers; but no worries their are another nine tracks to enjoy. In For a Penny has Dali taking over the lead from Max in the previous song. This is a band with six musicians who want to play music that has a message and brings a feeling of joy with every note and five great vocalists, there is no room for inflated ego’s as they all take turns to lead and the music ebbs and flows around them with a perfect beat.
Leave Me Alone written by talented guitarist Chris Hooks has a haunting sound robustly delivered as we wait for the sun with a lovely harp solo delivered by Max Bianco, what a band of talents as they have written every track as a band or individually. It is this varied approach that ensures each track is distinctive, with change of tempo, tone and delivery of the words. The brooding quality of the vocals and words of Nothing I Do written and sung by Dali has a clear narrative around family and the instrumentation surrounding him is stripped back and adds to the mood being created. Paint Me a Picture changes the feel of the album with Max taking the lead on the song he wrote and has a story of a troubadour driven to travel singing and writing songs as he reflects on the news, a modern song in an old skin. Throughout the album the rhythm section comprising bassist Keith Wilkinson and drummer Kez Edwards ensures that the shape of the music is kept as the other four change guitars who is taking the lead and topping up the percussive beat that is The Jar Family.
The final track is 1914 with a percussive tempo the beats like the tolling of the bell and clap of drums as the story of Christmas Day 1914 is told with an emotional feel what an amazing track to close with and thanks to Max for writing a song that is a true In memoria to the fallen of that dreadful war and those since then.
Family First has achieved a live sound in the studio capturing the beating heart and soul of The Jar Family a special band of men who deliver music that wants to be listened to again and again. They are a unique mix of modernity, roots and folk that refuses to be branded they are freemen who will stamp there take on music that has no soft sentiment and is urban, industrial rather that rural folk, celebrating those who stamp the iron and hew the coal to shape the landscape.
Bluesdoodles gives this CD TEN doodle paws out of TEN ….
Jar Family ~ Family First – Independent
Track Listing CD
1. In the Clouds
2. In For A Penny
3. I Have To Go
4. She Was Crying
5. Leaving Me Alone
6. Paint Me A Picture
7. Tell Me Baby
8. Nothing I Do
9. World’s Too Fast